29th March 2006

OpenFOAM 1.3 Released

OpenCFD are pleased to announce the release of version 1.3 of the OpenFOAM open source CFD toolbox. [Note: The OpenFOAM software is now released by the OpenFOAM Foundation following transfer of ownership in August 2011].  Version 1.3 contains numerous developments aimed towards improving the efficiency and robustness of OpenFOAM for large-scale engineering CFD, including:

Improved parallel running

Parallel running of OpenFOAM has been improved significantly with: easy implementation of integral boundary conditions, e.g. fixed mass flow rate; faster performance of the parallelised AMG solver; faster parallel communications.

Increased speed

Significant improvements in speed and memory storage through careful code optimisation.

Better numerics

Several discretisation schemes have been added for better accuracy and better stability on ‘bad’ (e.g. tetrahedral) meshes.

Single precision option

OpenFOAM can be switched from double to single precision for all floating point numbers to reduce memory requirements, e.g. for large steady-state external aerodynamics calculations (F1).


Support for and shipped with OpenMPI (although still released compiled with lam-MPI by default).

The other main changes have been predominately driven by commercial demand and comprise of the following:

Development tools

New, automatic stack trace on code abort; optional initialisation of dynamically allocated memory to trap use of uninitialised floating point variables; processor-labelled error messages for easier debugging.

Application development

The developments of the solvers centre around low and high speed aerodynamics, heat transfer and buoyancy-driven flows. There are many new utilities, particularly for mesh conversion/manipulation and post-processing.

Mesh handling

There has a major reorganisation and development of mesh structures to improve capability for generation, topological change, sliding interfaces, etc.

Switchable base system of units

Physical constants are no longer hard-coded but read in from file enabling the use of a different base system of units from the default (SI).

Changes to models

There are some changes in particular relating to wall functions of turbulence models.

Library restructure

The finite volume method is separated from the main library so that other discretisation techniques may be easily supported; libraries have been reordered to prevent cyclic dependencies.


Released compiled with GCC 4.1, a version with superior optimisation, better adherence to the C++ standard and improved error messaging; support for the Intel C++ 9.0 compiler.
Henry Weller
Chris Greenshields
Mattijs Janssens